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My Garden Diary

May and June 2016

Copyright © 2016 by David E. Ross

Many years ago, when I first started my Web site, I created an online diary of my gardening activities and observations. However, with work and the commute from Hell, I was often so tired I had to choose between maintaining my garden and maintaining my diary. Sometimes, I did neither. In 1998, I stopped my diary and removed the pages from my Web site.

Now I am retired. I am well-rested and have plenty of time to both garden and maintain a diary. This diary is primarily for my own benefit, so that I can look back upon what I did and when. But I thought others might also be interested, so here it is.

Also see What's Blooming in My Garden Now?


January-February 2013
March-April 2013
May-June 2013
July-August 2013
September-October 2013
November-December 2013
January-February 2014
March-April 2014
May-June 2014
July-August 2014
September-October 2014
November-December 2014
January-February 2015
March-April 2015
May-June 2015
July-August 2015
September-October 2015
November-December 2015
January-February 2016
March-April 2016

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012

Entries below are in reverse order (latest at the top). Daily, I might stoop to pull a weed or use a hose to water some potted plants; however, I don't consider those significant gardening activities. Thus, you will not see daily entries. Also, I might accumulate a few entries before updating this page on the Web.

When plants have well-known common names, their scientific names are given only the first time they appear on this page (entry closest to the bottom). There, the common name is in bold or appears as a link to another Web page.

Dates refer to other entries in the same year as the entry in which they appear unless a different year is given. Dates without years, however, may refer to entries on prior pages for the same year.

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
22 May

Mostly clear with a few scattered clouds, sunny (sometimes hazy), and mild

Temp: 48-69
Humidity: 37%
Wind: 1-17

Rain —
This season: 9.08
Days since last: 16

Trimmed another Rhaphiolepis in front (13 May), one of those where the brick path to my front door meets the public sidewalk.

Baited the squirrel trap with damaged and underripe loquats.

Yesterday at a public garden where I am a docent, I broke off a shoot of black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) that was growing where it did not belong. Today, I put it up as a cutting to root. This is a running bamboo that I would have to grow in a container to control; otherwise, it can be extremely invasive. Rooting the shoot is uncertain since propgagtion is generally done with the underground rhizomes.

18 May

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 54-81
Humidity: 18%
Wind: 2-17

Rain —
This season: 9.08
Days since last: 12

Used the output of my office shredder to mulch part of the camellia bed and around the newly planted Coreopsis in the east bed in back. I also placed a small amount of shreds around the Artemisia cutting that I planted in the west bed.

The fruit on the loquat tree is beginning to show color. I hung "trash" compact discs on it and on the nearby Australian tea tree in an attempt to keep birds away from the ripening fruit. With the sun shining on the discs, they flash as breezes make them rotate on the end of kite twine. I actually found one fruit that appeared ripe. Although slightly tart, it was good. Next to it was a damaged fruit, which Cleopatra devoured.

Fed the main, larger part of the pink clover front lawn with 27-0-6 lawn food. I also gave the Rhaphiolepis that I had pruned (13 May) a handful of the same fertilizer.

15 May

Cloudy, short moments of hazy sun, mild

Temp: 54-69
Humidity: 62%
Wind: 1-10

Rain —
This season: 9.08
Days since last: 9

Today, all tasks were in the front yard.

The pink clover (Persicaria capitata) in the main, eastern part of the front lawn has become sparse, possibly from the severe heat waves last summer. Today, I aeriated much of the bare patches to improve water retention. In a few days, I will feed that area again (6 Mar).

Did some minor trimming of the Podocarpus by the front door. By shortening some side branches and eliminating other vertical growth, I hope to encourage more growth of the shoot I selected to be the new leader (24 Apr).

Trimmed the edges of the lawn along the brick path to the front door. I also trimmed the dwarf English ivy (Hedera helix 'Hahn's') around the liquidambar tree (L. styraciflua). I want to keep a narrow cleared area between the pink clover lawn and the ivy so that one does not invade the other.

The rose cuttings (17 & 27 Apr) died without forming roots.

13 May

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 54-85
Humidity: 44%
Wind: 1-12

Rain —
This season: 9.08
Days since last: 7

Planted in back:
  • cuphea at either end of the rose bed
  • all six Coreopsis in the east bed around the Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' that is closest to My Hill
  • the rooted cutting of Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (A. arborescens × absinthium, 27 Mar) in the east bed to replace one that died.

The peach tree (Prunus persica 'Santa Barbara') appears to have failed to set any fruit this year. On the other hand, the loquat (Eriobotrya japonica 'MacBeth') has so much fruit — still green and maturing — that branches are bending. Both the navel orange (Citrus Sinensis 'Robertson') and the tangelo (C. reticulata × paradisi 'Mineola') have baby fruits; however, citrus trees tend to drop much of their crop well before it matures.

Finished pruning the lavender (8 May) in the circular bed.

Began pruning the Rhaphiolepis indica that grows adjacent to the public sidewalk. I finished the one where my driveway and the sidewalk intersect. It was interfering with both.

11 May

After early morning gloom, clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 51-79
Humidity: 50%
Wind: 0-14

Bought a six-pack of coreopsis (species unknown) and two white-flowered cuphea (C. hyssopifolia) to plant in back. I really only wanted three coreopsis, but the six-pack cost less than two individual plants. In any case, individual coreopsis plants were not available at the nursery.

Fed the dwarf citrus, gardenia (G. jasminoides 'Veitchii'), and Australian tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) with ammonium, iron, and zinc sulfate.


Rain —
This season: 9.08
Week: 2.16

8 May

Cloudy, mostly gray with occasional hazy sun, and cool

Temp: 49-68
Humidity: 62%
Wind: 1-15

Rain —
This season: 9.08
Week: 2.16

Two days ago, 2.16 inches of rain fell in 5 hours! No, the drought is not yet over; but the rain means southern Californians will not be irrigating gardens for a while, thus reducing the demand on depleted reservoirs.

Uncapped the two vertical irrigation pipes for the Japanese zelkova (Z. serrata) in the parkway in front and dropped a small handful of 27-0-6 lawn food down each pipe to feed the tree.

Started pruning the fourth 'Goodwin Creek Grey' lavender (Lavandula lanata × dentata) in the circular bed (27 Mar and 1 & 3 Apr).

While grooming the climbing 'Dublin Bay' rose, I discovered that Cleopatra was lying upside-down. She apparently tried to climb the steps up onto My Hill and fell off to one side. I don't know how long she was there; it could have even been a few days. I put concrete blocks on the bottom step to keep her from repeating her adventure, which was a stark demonstration of the origin of the phrase "turn turtle".

4 May

Cloudy, gray with some hazy sun, mild

Temp: 51-70
Humidity: 59%
Wind: 2-13

Rain —
This season: 6.92
Week: 0.02
Days since last: 23

Finished trimming the rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in front. Not only was it growing out over the public sidewalk, but it was also blocking the view of my roses from the street and sidewalk.

One of the potted Hippeastrum seems to be infested with some kind of small insects, possibly mealybugs. Before watering it, I gave it a small amount of fertilizer that contains a systemic insecticide.

The Alstroemeria in back showed signs of snail damage, so I put some poisoned snail bait in its pot. Basil (Ocimum basilicum, 1 & 27 Apr) also attracts snails, so I put some of the bait in its pot too.

I moved the dill (Anethum graveolens, 1 Apr) from the patio to among my other potted herbs.

1 May

Mostly clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 50-76
Humidity: 46%
Wind: 1-14

Rain —
This season: 6.92
Days since last: 20

Climbed My Hill to train the 'Flame' grape vine at the top. I tied shoots with immature grapes to the supporting wire and headed the baaren shoots.

I never exert the effort in climbing My Hill for only one task. While I was going up and later while I was coming down, I cut down seedling and sapling trees that have volunteered on My Hill. When I had My Hill repaired, the county's Public Work Agency, which issued the grading permit, warned me against having trees on the slope. When the winds blow, a tree rocks back and forth, breaking up the soil around the base of its trunk. During a heavy rain, that creates a path for water to enter the slope, undermine the surface, and cause another mud slide. Having spent over $150,000 to repair the last slide, I want to avoid creating any risk of a new one.

Also while on My Hill, I finally dragged the last bundle of pruned branches from the 'Flame' grape to the bottom. I cut them up for the garden waste bin.

While doing my weekly watering of the potted weeping Chinese banyan (Ficus benjamina) on my front porch, I added a large pinch of ammonium sulfate into the second jug of water. I also gave a little of that enriched jug to the palm and lavender that are in pots on the brick path from the sidewalk to the front door. Having learn a hard lesson many years ago, I gave each of these plants plain water first to prevent burning the roots with the strong fertilizer.

In my breakfast room, ran kite twine from a hook in the cieling near the family room to the bracket in the greenhouse window for the shelf containing the potted all-green (i.e., not variegated) pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum 'Jade'). Then I tied two long shoots of the pothos to the twine with nursery tape.

Weather data are from the Cheeseboro (CHE) weather station, about 2 miles ENE of my house.

The high temperature (°F) is daytime for the indicated date; the low temperature (°F) is for the previous night.

Winter chill is the cumulative hours of temperatures at or below 45°F from 1 November through 31 March. It is reported during that period and through April.

The relative humidity is at noon. (In my garden, it is likely higher than reported, a result of regular irrigation.)

Wind speeds (mph) are average (not peak) low and high, midnight to midnight (subject to later correction for diary entries posted before the end of the day). I also indicate peak wind gusts parenthetically when they are significantly high.

Rain is in inches. Season is the cumulative amount of rainfall from 1 October until 30 September of the following year (our "rain-year"). Week is the cumulative amount of measurable rainfall from noon seven days ago until noon of the indicated date. If no measurable rain fell in that period, Days since last is reported.

Characterization of the weather (e.g., Clear, sunny, and warm) is purely subjective; for example, "warm" might occur with higher temperatures than "hot" if the former occurs with lower humidity and more breezes than the latter. Also, a day that would normally be characterized as "mild" might instead be "warm" if the immediately previous days were quite cold. Finally, such characterization reflects when I was actually outside and gardening and ignores changes that occur while I am inside.

The signature line I use when writing messages about my garden includes the following:

Climate: California Mediterranean
Sunset Zone: 21 -- interior Santa Monica Mountains with some ocean influence (USDA 10a, very close to Sunset Zone 19)
See also My Climate.
March-April 2016
January-February 2016
November-December 2015
September-October 2015
July-August 2015
May-June 2015
March-April 2015
January-February 2015
November-December 2014
September-October 2014
July-August 2014 May-June 2014
March-April 2014
January-February 2014
November-December 2013
September-October 2013
July-August 2013
May-June 2013
March-April 2013
January-February 2013

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012


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